You may have considered getting a vasectomy if you’ve decided you’re done fathering children. A vasectomy is permanent male sterilization. It’s accomplished by snipping the vas deferens, the tubes connecting each testicle to the rest of the male reproductive system. The vas deferens is the highway connecting sperm to semen during ejaculation. So essentially, a vasectomy blocks that highway—for good.
Vasectomies are a simple outpatient procedure that can be done in your doctor’s office. Still, there are some things you should know before you go for your appointment. Below, we cover the factors to consider for post-vasectomy care so that you have the best chances of success and an easier recovery.
The first two days post-vasectomy will be the most painful and delicate, so plan to take it easy and rest on your back in bed or on the couch. It’s normal to experience some:
Redness at the incisions
Protect your incisions by wearing loose cotton briefs lined with gauze. You can manage your pain with over-the-counter painkillers (acetaminophen) and ice packs (separate the ice from your skin with a towel). Gently clean the surgical site after the first day with mild soap and water. Follow your doctor’s instructions about bandaging and bathing. After two days, you should see signs that your body is healing.
You’ll still be sensitive for a while, so give yourself a full week of taking it easy after having a vasectomy done. If you have a desk job, you can return to work, but avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity. Your body is healing and vulnerable to damage. Minimizing physical activity can help ease pain and discomfort that you experience as your incisions heal. Avoid exercise, heavy lifting, and water immersion during this time.
After the first two days post-vasectomy, your pain and swelling should taper off. If you experience the opposite, contact your doctor to prevent infection and ease your symptoms. Report any of the following to your doctor:
Bleeding after 48 hours
Discharge after 48 hours
Increased swelling after 48 hours
Blood in urine
Problems with urination
Pain that doesn’t go away or ease up
A vasectomy cuts and cauterizes your vas deferens. While the wound is fresh, you’ll want to avoid applying added pressure to the area. That means foregoing masturbation or other sexual activity while you recover. This will allow the cut ends to heal fully without interruption or irritation. Usually, you can begin having sex again about seven days post-vasectomy.
Usually, after about a week, if your incisions are healing, your stitches will dissolve, and you can return to your normal physical activities. That includes moderate exercise, swimming, work, sports, and sex (but see the next post-vasectomy recovery tip before you jump back in the sack).
Vasectomies are not immediately effective at eliminating sperm from your semen. In fact, it can take up to 16 weeks for men who have undergone a vasectomy to show results of zero live sperm in their ejaculate. To confirm that you are, in fact, sterile—a post-vasectomy semen analysis is required.
Here’s the post-vasectomy at-home test kit that we prefer from Orchid, a partner in at-home fertility testing. Wait for at least 12 weeks before testing your sperm after having a vasectomy. Don’t skip this step!
In the meantime, you’ll want to use alternative contraceptives, such as condoms, until your test results show successful azoospermia (no sperm in semen). Once you get the go-ahead, your surgery can be considered a success. Although vasectomies are extremely effective; still, one in 2,000 men can father a child after a vasectomy.
Take your post-vasectomy care seriously so that you can recover quickly and enjoy the perks of permanent male sterilization. If you’re considering a vasectomy or are experiencing any complications from surgery, our experienced doctors are standing by to help. Schedule an appointment below to be seen as soon as today.